Although computer monitors have reached some pretty impressive sizes nowadays, they're still far from what HDTVs can offer. For this reason, connecting a PC or a notebook to an LCD TV or a plasma display might be a very interesting solution, especially if you require a whole lot more desktop space of simply want to watch a movie on a widescreen TV.
There are several ways in which one can connect a computer to TV set, but probably the simplest (and most successful) one is via a VGA interface, which works almost instantly, doesn't require you to purchase any additional adapters or cables and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes (and a few clicks).
We've explained how this process is carried out under Windows XP simply because this OS is still pretty much the most widespread among computer users and because things are a lot simpler in Vista, which adjust all necessary parameters automatically.
- Computer (either PC or notebook);
- VGA cable (you can use your ordinary PC monitor VGA cable);
- HDTV equipped with a VGA interface. Case 1: PC
Step 1: Disconnect the VGA cable from your PC monitor and attach it to the HDTV's VGA port;
Step 2: Using your TV's remote, change the video signal source until you come across the PC Input option. There, you'll be able to view your desktop, but the resolution will most likely not be perfect;
Step 3: Adjust the resolution from the display adapter's control software application or directly from Control Panel. Case 2: Notebook
Step 1: Connect the VGA cable to the specific output typically found on one of the notebook's lateral sides and then to the HDTV;
Step 2 : Using your TV's remote, change the video signal source until you come across the PC Input option. At first, you won't be able to see anything but a dark, blank screen, but don't worry, things are about to change very fast;
Step 3 : Open the display adapter's control software application (in our specific case, nView from nVidia);
Step 4 : Run the display wizard;
Step 5: Choose the Display Mode. You'll generally have three options here, namely Dualview, Span and Clone. The first one will allow each display to maintain its own characteristics (resolution, color depth and refresh rate), while the second will actually allow the TV's screen to act as an “extension” of the desktop. However, we recommend to choose the third option, which allows both displays to show the same information and share the same features;
Step 5: Choose the resolution for the PC displays. In general, it's recommended to choose a resolution that better fits the HDTV rather than the computer's display, simply because that's the screen you'll mostly be looking at;
Step 6: Finish the wizard. Now, as you can see from the first photo, your HDTV should display a mirror image of your computer's desktop, so you'll be able to, for example, watch a Blu-ray movie on your brand-new Blu-ray enabled notebook.
Reversing the process is even easier. Thus, all you have to do is simply disconnect the VGA cable from the signal source (the notebook). The notebook's own display will be automatically reverted to the pre-set resolution, and the TV will automatically go blank again.
As you've seen, this is a fairly simple method. On the future, we'll also tackle other variants as well (DVI, HDMI, etc.), so stay tuned.
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